Class 30: “The Obstacles to Getting a Good Education / Graduating from College and Still Ignorant and Unlearned” (Part 5)

Welcome to Class 30 of “The Ramp” to the Highway of Success course for young men. I am Daniel Whyte III, chairman of the National Association to Save Young Black Men in partnership with the Martin Luther King Senior Institute for Young Men & Young Women. The Institute aims to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Sr., commonly referred to as “Daddy King”, whom God used to raise the great leader, Martin Luther King Jr. Our purpose is to guide young men and young women, and help them get on the path to becoming kings and queens for the glory of God.

I am your instructor for this course and the author of the ESSENCE national bestselling book “Letters to Young Black Men”. We are using that book as the text and its study guide to guide you through the course. The study guide was developed with the help of Jamie McCallum (M.Div, Truett Theological Seminary) and Charles Garrett (M.Div, Southwestern Theological Seminary). This course is for all young men, but especially for young black men and young men of color who oftentimes have a “difficult journey” in this great country called America. I call this class “the Ramp” to the Highway of Success because my goal is to get you on “the Ramp”. As a man, you ought to be able to make it from there. Out of respect for you as a young man, my job is to get you on the ramp and point you in the right direction, not to tell you all the details once you get onto the highway of success. With God, you can do great things.

— Let’s Pray —

Today, we are continuing our study which combines two of the letters in Letters to Young Black Men — “The Obstacles To Getting A Good Education” and “Graduating From College And Still Ignorant and Unlearned”.

As we begin this lesson, consider the slogan of the United Negro College Fund: “The mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men which our lesson is based on:

Now on the matter of education, I would like to kindly say to you, dear friend, please, please do not graduate from college ignorant, and sounding and looking uneducated.

To me, one of the most appalling things to see is a young man or woman for that matter, who has gone through four years of college and turned out to be just as dumb and ignorant as before he or she went in. I am forever amazed at people who have graduated from college, yet butcher the English language, come out with muddled thinking, and do not even know basic facts of history. For crying out loud, please do not come out of college like that. That is a waste of money and time.

How do people come out of a four-year institution of higher learning ignorant anyway? I believe it is because they go into college with the wrong idea of what college is for. Some go with no intentions on learning anything. These dear souls have nothing else to do, so they go to college with their buddies to pass the time and to carry on the same childish antics that they did in high school. And before they know it, the time that they wanted to pass passes away, and they barely graduate having cheated and skated their way through college, never having learned the very basics of a college education.

Sadly, often times, these dear souls come out of college throwing down the same old foolishness they were throwing down before they went to college. Then they want a Fortune 500 Company to hire them on. And when they fail a simple test to get an entry-level position, they cry racism. How ridiculous!

Dear Y.B.M., if you have the opportunity to go to college, go to college to learn something — not to play.

Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.

Before moving on from this issue of higher education, it is necessary to discuss how to get the most out of your educational experience. On that amazing day when you walk the platform and receive your diploma, you should not resemble the same person that entered the university four years earlier. The fact that unchanged individuals receive their college degrees every year is a travesty. It signifies an utter waste of time and money. So, let us briefly look at how we can avoid this pitfall.

Note what the following verses have to say concerning your attitude toward learning:

1. Joshua 3:5: “And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

The Lord is preparing to do mighty things in your life. However, these will not just come about out of thin air. You must prepare yourself, at the very stage of life you are in, to be a trustworthy servant of the Holy God. Our time on this earth is limited, and there is much to be accomplished for the Kingdom of God. Do not waste another day being lazy and wasting time. Choose to be diligent in preparing yourself for Kingdom service. When you are attending college, there is no better time to focus on your life and God’s purposes for it. Study hard, ask difficult questions, and leave ready to literally change the world.

2. 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

What does it mean to attend college for the glory of God? For the Lord’s name to be exalted, your name must be unimportant. Thus, receiving an education for the glory of God signifies a demonstration of respect for the teachers, an attitude of seriousness toward the assignments, and a consistent focus on your purpose for being there.

If you see high school or college as a place to make a great reputation for yourself, a way to get the inside information on the best parties, or a way to find some really great dates, then it is likely you are seeking your own glory and not the Lord’s. Please do not waste your time and money striving to make yourself great. Your existence is temporal and the Lord’s is everlasting. Invest your energy in the more valuable cause.

3. Proverbs 2:2: “Incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding.”

Through your higher education experience, you will gain wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. However, in order to benefit from it, you must be a willing receiver of that wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Notice the word “incline.” If you really want to hear what someone is saying, you will often tilt your head toward them. This simple action shows that you are interested in what you are hearing and that you want to hear more. You must also “apply your heart” to your educational endeavours. Education is not just a head matter, but a heart matter as well. In order to truly come out of your educational experience wiser and better prepared to face life, your heart must be in the right place. You must see education as a good thing — not a drudgery. And you must realize that God WANTS you to learn.

Let’s Pray.


In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”

Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.

First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.

If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.